The Ragpicker
c. 1865-1870
Édouard Manet (French, 1832-1883)
On View

The Ragpicker represents one of the practitioners of a now-obsolete profession that involved sifting through the detritus of daily life—not only rags, which were sold to paper manufacturers—but also kitchen scraps, soap and other castoffs that were left out for trash collectors. Sorting garbage might sound like work for the truly destitute, but these scavengers were regulated, semiprofessional recyclers of city waste, and they were seen as a discrete social type, one that was free from the restrictions and inhibitions of a traditional bourgeois lifestyle.

Manet, who was experiencing his own sense of alienation and rejection from established art circles, may have identified with his embattled subject. Both artist and ragpicker could be seen as bohemians who operated on the margins and earned a living by making use of the stuff of everyday life. The small still-life element in the lower foreground of this painting, a pile of opened oyster shells, coupled with a broken champagne bottle and lemon peels, may symbolize this shared creative act.


  • Artist Name: Édouard Manet (French, 1832-1883)
  • Title: The Ragpicker
  • Date: c. 1865-1870
  • Medium: Oil on canvas
  • Dimensions: 76-3/4 x 51-1/2 in. (194.9 x 130.8 cm)
  • Credit Line: The Norton Simon Foundation
  • Accession Number: F.1968.09.P
  • Copyright: © The Norton Simon Foundation

Object Information

The artist, sold 1871-72 for Ff. 1000 to;
[Durand-Ruel, Paris, for Ff. 1500 to];
Ernest Hoschedé (1837-1890), Paris (sale, Paris, Hôtel Drouot, 5-6 June 1878, lot 45, as Le Mendiant, for Ff. 800 to);
Duquesne, Paris.
Fernand Crouan, Nantes, by 1884.
Adolf Rothermundt, Blasewitz (near Dresden), by 1906-1921.
[Paul Cassirer, Berlin].
Josef Stransky (1872-1936), New York, 1921.
Adolph Lewisohn (d. 1938), New York, by 1926, to;
[Wildenstein & Co., New York and Paris, by 1931].
[Wildenstein & Co., New York, reacquired ca. 1950, later sold to];
H., Geneva (Mr. Schlepfer), by 1964 until at least 1967;
[Wildenstein & Co., New York, sold March, 1968 to];
The Norton Simon Foundation.

Elfte Ausstellung der Berliner Secession

  • Secession Ausstellungshaus, 1906 to 1906
  • Herbert, Robert L., Impressionism: Art, Leisure, and Parisian Society,fig. 64 p. 63
  • Duret, Théodore, Manet and the French Impressionists,no. 85 p. 224
  • Art News, p. 11
  • Art Institute of Chicago, Manet: Paintings and Works on Paper at the Art Institute of Chicago,2017, fig. 10-11.7 referenced and image included in unnumbered pages in essay for Cat. 10-11
  • Caby, Robert, Bulletin de la Société d'études pour la connaissance d'Édouard Manet,no. 3 p. 5
  • Shimada, Norio, The History of Impressionism, p. 98
  • Venturi, Lionello, L'Arte, p. 154
  • Pool, Phoebe and Sandra Orienti, The Complete Paintings of Manet,no. 97 p. 95
  • Darragon, Éric, Manet,fig. 121
  • Meier-Græfe, Julius, Edouard Manet,fig. 48
  • McMahon, A. Philip, Parnassus, p. 8
  • Hecker, Sharon, Un monumento al momento. Medardo Rosso e le origini internazionali della sculpture contemporanea,2017, 15 pp. 53-54
  • Rouart, Denis; and Sandra Orienti, Tout l'oeuvre peint d'Edouard Manet,no. 96 p. 95
  • Brettell, Richard R. and Stephen F. Eisenman, Nineteenth-Century Art in the Norton Simon Museum, volume 1,2006,
  • Tabarant, Adolphe, Manet: Histoire catalographique,no. 106 pp. 146-147, 578
  • Venturi, Marcello and Sandra Orienti, L'opera pittorica di Edouard Manet,no. 97 p. 95
  • Stevenson, Lesley, Manet, pp. 104-105
  • Waldmann, Emil, Edouard Manet, pp. 35, 46
  • New York Times,sec. 9, pt. 1
  • Pullins, David, Manet: Three Paintings From the Norton Simon Museum,2019, fig. 16 p. 6, 11, 14, 17, pp. 43-61, pp. 80-81, p. 93; p. 2 (ill.), p. 42 (ill.), p. 80 (ill.)
  • Hanson, Anne Coffin, Manet and the Modern Tradition, p. 65
  • Rouart, Denis; and Daniel Wildenstein, Edouard Manet: Catalogue raisonné,no. 137
  • Wilenski, R. H., French Painting, p. 245
  • James H. Rubin, Edouard Manet: Initiale M, L'Oeil, Une Main,2011, Fig. 57 p. 132
  • Daulte, François, La Revue du Louvre et des musées de France, p. 143
  • Perutz, Vivien, Édouard Manet, p. 67
  • Duret, Théodore, Histoire d'Edouard Manet et son oeuvre avec un Catalogue des Peintures et des Pastels,no. 95 p. 248
  • Art Digest, p. 9
  • Duret, Théodore, Histoire d'Édouard Manet et son oeuvre. Avec un catalogue des peintures et des pastels,no. 95
  • Alpers, Svetlana, New Literary History,fig. 14 pp. 36, 37
  • Jamot, Paul and Georges Wildenstein, Manet,vol. I, pp. 89, 137, no. 153; vol. II pl. 22, fig. 45 pp. 89, 137
  • Leibowitz, J.R., Hidden Harmony: The Connected Worlds of Physics and Art,2008, Plate 20 p. 107
  • Mélikian, Souren; and Daniel Wildenstein, Réalités, p. 76
  • Steadman, David W., The Connoisseur,Color pl. A p. 222
  • Moreau-Nélaton, Étienne, Manet reconté par lui-même,vol. I, p. 109, no. 44, fig. 121; vol. II, pp. 47, 128, fig. 339 p 109; pp. 47, 128
  • Venturi, Lionello, Les archives de l'Impressionnisme,vol. II, no. 95 p. 190
  • Weisberg, Gabriel P., Bulletin of the Cleveland Museum of Art,fig. 12 pp. 286, 287
  • Moreau-Nélaton, Étienne, Catalogue manuscrit de l'oeuvre de Manet,no. 117
  • Masterpieces from the Norton Simon Museum,1989, p. 123
  • Andrés Úbeda, et al, Georges de La Tour,2016, Fig. 53 p.# 75,p.# 179
  • Bodelsen, Merete, The Burlington Magazine,no. 45 pp. 339-340
  • Tabarnat, Adolphe, Manet,no. 37 p. 33
  • Watson, Forbes, Arts, pp. 18, 31
  • Florisoone, Michel, Manet, pp. 19, 21, 24
  • Alpers, Svetlana, Rembrandt's Enterprise: The Studio and the Market,fig. 3.48 p. 79
  • Rosenhagen, Hans, Die Kunst für Alle, pp. 434, 442
  • Lambert, E., Gazette des Beaux-Arts,fig. 13 p. 375
  • Campbell, Sara, Collector Without Walls: Norton Simon and His Hunt for the Best,2010, cat. 433 p. 297
  • Hanson, Anne Coffin, Art Institute of Chicago Museum Studies,fig. 19 pp. 74,77
  • Brombert, Beth Archer, Edouard Manet: Rebel in a Frock Coat, pp. 106, 306
  • Bourgeois, Stephan, The Adolph Lewisohn Collection of Modern French Paintings and Sculptures, with an Essay on French Painting During the Nineteenth Century and Notes on Each Artist's Life and Works", p. 67
  • Tabarant, Adolphe, Manet et ses oeuvres,fig. 113 pp. 115-116, 323, 492, 536, 605
Audio Tour
English | Español
Audio Tour Transcript
English | Español
English | Español
Transcripción de Audioguía
English | Español
Children's Audio Tour
English | Español
Children's Audio Tour Transcript
English | Español
Audioguía Infantil
English | Español
Transcripción de Audioguía Infantil
English | Español

Additional Artwork by Artist

Madame Manet Édouard Manet 1874-1876
Still Life with Fish and Shrimp Édouard Manet 1864

Image reproduction permission may be granted for scholarly or arts related commercial use. All image requests, regardless of their intended purpose, should be submitted via the reproduction request form.

Images may be protected by copyright and other intellectual property rights. Additional permission may be required.

Approved requests for the reproduction of an image will receive a contract detailing all fees and conditions of use of the image. Upon receipt of both the signed contract and full payment, the Office of Rights and Reproductions will provide the image. A complimentary copy of the published material must be provided to the Norton Simon Museum.

Reproduction Request Form